Thursday, June 4, 2015

Why Must the Earth Be Old?

Gen 1:26  Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." Gen 1:27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Gen 1:28  And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Gen 1:29  And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. Gen 1:30  And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. Gen 1:31  And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

We have been having an interesting debate over the age of the earth.  I have made a point that I want to explain and expand on in this particular article.  My contention is that an old earth with a universe that is billions of years old rather than the plain meaning of Genesis 1 that God created all things in six literal days only makes sense in an evolutionary framework.  Here is my reasoning:

In a sense the universe was made for man.  God has made man in order to display his glory to him in several ways but primarily through the redemption of sinners.  All this is being played out on the stage of the earth.  The universe and in particular the earth is the platform in which God is carrying out the purposes of redemption. 

As we read through the first chapter of Genesis it is interesting that creation is recounted from the earth’s view point, not even the heavenly.  Philosophically, if not geographically, the earth is the center of the universe.  And it is placed within the galaxy just where it needs to be in order for life to exist as it does and for man to be able to view the universe and see the glory of God in its creation.   In these ways it exists for man’s use; it is his home. 

My question, then, is this; what purpose would God have in creating the earth through a process of billions of years only to house man for a few thousand years?  If its whole purpose is to house man as God works out his redemptive plan in him why did it have to exist for eons of time without any use as God painstakingly, slowly developed it only to be used quickly and then destroyed to make way for a new heavens and earth?  I think any atheistic evolutionist would answer that it took billions of years to form because it all happened by chance naturally; there was no God overseeing it but it happened randomly without purpose or meaning.  We won’t spend any time dealing with the unreasonableness of that, but the point seems to be that if the universe was created then it might as well had been done quickly so that Man could be placed in it and God’s work can begin.  There is no reason for it to exist for eons of time apart from Man and God’s work being accomplished.

The highlighted verse above bears this out.  Man is the pinnacle of creation and when he was made God told him look around I have created a home for you to use as you serve me.  It is yours to have dominion, to subdue and to use for my glory.  Nature exists for Man.  Man was created instantaneously in Adam and Eve and earth and the universe was created just before he was to be his home.  I have yet to hear from any Christian what would be the purpose of developing an earth over billions of years only to be used for a short time.  While I know that if God wanted to do that then that is his prerogative but there is nothing in the Bible to suggest this; certainly God is wise and powerful enough to be able to do so immediately.  And if he did so then it would have to be made at a stage in which it could sustain life which by definition would mean that it was formed at a certain level of maturity or age. 

I might add to this if God will create a new heavens and earth immediately after the destruction of the old order why in the world wouldn’t he have done so with the first order?  Are we going to have to wait billions of years before we will be able to inhabit the new one?  It seems at the heart of the issue is the questioning of the very wisdom and abilities of God.

5 comments:

  1. I, too, can proffer no reason as to why God might have taken eons before Man came along and Man was redeemed--the ultimate plan of God.

    But I can proffer a reason why creation is recounted from the earth's point of view. After recently reading Galileo's Telescope--a new book by 3 Italians--and then re-reading Genesis afresh and anew, it became vividly apparent to me that indeed Genesis was written from an earth-centric view.

    That was indeed the view pre-Galileo man had--the earth was still, it didn't rotate, the sun just went across the sky and so did the moon, the stars were on some sort of back-drop, and the visible planets were the weird guys.

    The astronomy parts of Genesis--sun, moon, stars, light--are definitely coming from this non-spinning earth-centric viewpoint.

    Might be a basic point, but I never thought about it, till after the eye-opening Galileo book and that re-read of Genesis IN THAT CONTEXT.

    Of course, that longheld viewpoint was shockingly shattered with the advent of Copernicus and Galileo. But in no way should it be understood that Copernicus and Galileo destroyed the truth of early Genesis.

    Early Geneis gives us the biggies in a correct worldview--God created the world out of nothing; God exists outside of nature not in nature; man is special; man has a sin problem; plus as a bonus, species don't morph. I think I've hit the main biggies.

    An exact description of a creation involving six 24-hour cycles would not be a biggie to me. To me, biggies have to do with the nature of God and the nature of man, not how it all exactly went down in pre-historic times.

    Kenny B

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  2. Actually, there is no reason to assume the earth wasn't rotating by the end of the first day and, in fact, the text says it was. You can't have a morning and an evening unless the earth is rotating.

    I am reading a fantastic book by Jonathan Sarfati called, "Refuting Compromise". He systematically refutes "Progressive Creationism" which believes in long "days" and old earth. Especially going after Hugh Ross. It is worth the read. He deals with the controversy around Galileo and shows that this is usually completely misrepresented. It might give you some things to think about.

    Nathan

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    1. I'm definitely gonna read "Refuting Compromise". I always give people a fair shake and hear them out.

      But, I'm gonna have to disagree with you on the text saying the earth was rotating by the end of the first day. The text says no such thing. The writer was writing from an assumption of a non-rotating earth and the sun--a flat disc, not a sphere--merely goes across the sky. There is no way the writer could be writing that the earth was spinning because he didn't view it that way. He certainly didn't say it that way.

      Kenny B

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  3. Just ordered a copy of Refuting Compromise. Before buying any book, I always look at lots of 5-star and 1-star reviews. I will give the book a good quickish read when I get it, but I got the cheapest used copy I could, and I'm pretty sure you would join the 5-star review crowd, whilst I would join the 1-star crowd.

    Kenny B

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  4. Man was used to convey the message of Genesis but God wrote it! You have no idea what Moses knew of the Sun and that has no bearing on what God says about the Sun or the Earth. Correct me if I am wrong but to use this logic means the Bible is only as reliable as the knowledge of those who wrote it. How do you know that early man didn't know the earth rotated, not that any of that matters in interpretation? Again, I think you will find this book interesting as he shows that there were a lot of opinions of the universe back in ancient times; not everyone thought the earth was flat, etc.

    The issue is was the Bible God-breathed to convey truth to us or is it just man's understanding of things. The latter is the classic liberal stance.

    Now I am going to listen to you latest song, later, Nathan

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